Sydney Morning Herald Homepage Design is getting Longer and Longer..
We thought we would take a look at a well-known high authority website and take a look at how it’s homepage design has evolved through time.
The Sydney Morning Herald is a well-known newspaper in Australia. Particularly Sydney as the name entails. So we took a look at how it has evolved since 2004 from the awesome website archive.org.
The SMH was ranked at 37 by Alexa within Australia during the time this post was written. That makes this website a very high ranking one that can pull a lot of views. So can we say that they must be doing something right? Well, they must be if they are ranking this high.
We did, however, take a look at Google trends to see how the site has performed over the years for their name keyword. Google trends showed a progressive decline for the search term: ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ since 2004 – 2018.
There are many reasons as to why this could be however we will discuss in this article the design trend of their homepage.
It’s very obvious what their trend is!
So yes. As we can see the length of the homepage has steadily increased with time. It is an almighty extra scroll in 2018 since the year 2000.
So we open up the commentary platform with the million dollar question. Will it continue down this design trend?
Well, let’s first see how the homepage design has evolved over the years.
What are the 10 main homepage design differences over 18 years
1. A shift from text to images
2. More headlines and less content text
3. Categories have been added to all headline articles
4. Top header has been entirely removed which had categories
5. Video content has been included
6. Interactive advertisements
7. Images are larger especially the feature article image.
8. Click-bait text within headings
9. Dedicated to opinion pieces with the name and photo of journalists
10. Minimalist and clean header
Can we expect a twice as long homepage in the next 18 years?
Since 2006 the homepage length has more than doubled. It’s hard to imagine that within a decade this same homepage will be twice the length it currently is.
The scroll is mundane. After a while, the scroll is entertaining for the action of the scrolling rather than the actual reading or gazing past the content.
For this reason, this ambition to maintain viewership cannot continue down this track without a threat of a competitor capturing the attention of users for the long term. So no we would imagine not.
The trend of longer homepages won’t be successful
In 2008 the SEO community has been aiming for more content and longer content. Assuming this is what the Google algorithm will reward a website for. It is hard to imagine that the length can get much longer for 2 main reasons.
1. Too much content and no quality threatens the viewership. If it’s all quantity and no quality the user won’t stay and the user most definitely won’t return.
2. Competition. Competition. Competition. A diluted collage of options to a viewer within any industry is a risky decision. Why? Well if the experience doesn’t offer the user any reward to stick around then the chances of them returning and making a purchase will subdue.
Content storytelling is all on the homepage
Business communications is an art. Especially for the journalism industry and that of media is the ability to communicate in the most effective way possible. A newspaper doesn’t offer a product. It offers information and their reward is through payment received from ads or subscription in today’s day and age.
The key to great communication is within the reciprocal relationship between listening and telling. This flow in and flow out effect maintains a relationship which is ever more required in the news industry.
Journalists have the job to listen to their community, city, state, country, and world. And the website delivers the work they bring back. However in the world of the ‘cloud’ today the user does not feel part of that team.
Living in the cloud is likened to a container and the story we have heard is about ‘us’ the ‘user’ so it is only human nature that the obvious next conversation should include user feedback.
The objective of content websites is to assist and allow clear communication of all stakeholders. After all, it’s new news and that come. Whenever, and wherever from whomever.
The newspaper homepage of the future
Customisable for the user. AI would have taken over what the user wants to read when the user wants the read it, how the user wants to read, see, hear or who knows! even feel it. If society continues on a time poor trail we will have less and less time to scroll and scroll and even gaze so we may require an article to be read to me.
All comments or No comments The ability for users to participate and be involved and feel rewarded on a website or app is the easiest and most powerful way a business or corporation can hold onto a user. It is also a very resourceful method required to ensure it is a system that ‘fits’ all. So either commentary will be open for ALL articles. ALL the time or we could see this entirely disappear or taken to another platform.
Backyard homegrown newspaper Doing anything online is becoming easier, quicker and more efficient so imagine how easy it can be to build a newspaper from scratch in the future. So local newspapers where locals can contribute and comment and have an entire neighborhood ‘comment’ effect may be the end of city papers and the beginning of local ones that filter into one major one.
A complete 180! Post-2000 There is is no reason why newspapers online won’t return to what they once were. Ink on thin paper. The paper might not be accessible to the vast majority. But often this is how a change and momentum occurs.